First-Class Hotel Opens at Walter Reed
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 5, 1997 A new 200-room state-of-the-art hotel featuring first-class accommodation at reasonable prices is now open here at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The Molonge House Hotel is primarily a haven for outpatients and families visiting patients from all military services who come to Walter Reed for care from around the world.
The hotel also welcomes active duty military, retirees, National Guardsmen, reservists and civilian employees on official duty or leisure travel. Eligible family members don't have to be accompanied by their spouse to stay at the $16 million Georgian-Revival architectural-style hotel, said Phil Strambler, the hotel's marketing director.
Strambler emphasized the hotel was built with nonappropriated funds instead of taxpayer dollars.
The hotel is named in honor of Maj. Gen. Lewis A. Mologne, who commanded Walter Reed from June 1983 until his retirement in August 1988. He died that same month.
Known as a "soldier's general," Mologne fought for years to improve the quality of living and medical care for service members and their families, said his widow, Rose Mologne.
"This is a glorious facility," she said. "I asked a soldier in the elevator this morning if he stayed here last night. He said, 'No ma'am, but I hope to stay here tonight. I had back surgery. They discharged me because they know I can stay close to the hospital.'
"That's what this hotel is all about; that was my husband's dream," she said. "Trying to get people back to duty and get their anxious families places to stay used to give him heartburn. People around this area used to rent rooms in their homes to outpatients and family members."
In addition to 200 rooms and suites, the hotel features a restaurant, gift shop, meeting and banquet space, state-of-the-art security and a courtesy van. Fifty percent of the rooms are accessible for handicapped persons.
A buffet-style restaurant is scheduled to open in September.
There are five different style rooms with varying amenities and rates, none more than $70 per night, noted guest coordinator Patricia Young.
"The standard rooms ($58) have a refrigerator, coffee pot, clock radio and telephone," Young said. "The superior rooms ($62) have all the amenities of the standard room, except the room is larger. Deluxe rooms are $64. Studio suites ($66) have a kitchenette -- refrigerator, stove top and microwave. The executive suites ($70) have a living room, bedroom, kitchenette, sofa-bed and writing desk."
Each room features two double beds, color television, VCRs, cable network and individual heating and air conditioning units. Smoking and non-smoking rooms are available.
Rooms for disabled guests are equipped with telephones in bathrooms. Hallways are equipped with motion detectors and cameras to alert security desk personnel if someone falls or needs emergency help.
"We're also positioning ourselves as the Mologne Hotel and conference center," Strambler said. "Our previous guest house is being renovated into a conference center where we hope to bring in much of the government business.
"We not only handle official duty customers, we welcome people on leisure travel," Strambler said. "There is no place with reasonable prices for people who want to see a play in Washington or shop in the area. The average hotel rate in this area is $139 per night."
Ann Crawford, editor of Military Living magazine, said, "There has been a critical need for such a hotel for years. I'm sure many military people worldwide will appreciate knowing it's there in the event they ever need to visit Walter Reed for medical care.
"It's more than that, however, it's a place where military folks and their families of all services and all ranks can enjoy first-class lodging for a fraction of what it would cost outside," Crawford noted.